TOUGH DAY: In layoffs company-wide, Condé Nast eliminated roughly 60 positions this week, several sources said.
Most brands were affected, though midsize magazines — Self and Brides — were hardest hit. Pink slips even went out on the 18th floor, at the corporate communications office, where two staffers, including a corporate vice president, Susan Portnoy, were let go.
This story first appeared in the October 12, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The layoffs, which began Wednesday morning and continued through Thursday, came after Condé, which owns WWD, had already asked brands to cut back 10 percent off their annual budgets. The latest round of cuts are related to next year’s business plans.
On Thursday afternoon, after a grim day at 4 Times Square, chief executive officer Charles Townsend sent an internal memo attributing the layoffs to “the challenges of the U.S. economy.” He said no additional announcements related to next year’s budget are expected.
Brides let go about five staffers on the editorial side, though some have been asked to work part time. Some have not been informed because they were attending bridal shows taking place this week. Six employees were dismissed in business. The magazine appointed a new editor in chief, Keija Minor, in September.
At Self, eight editorial and three business staffers were let go, WWD confirmed; the layoffs at the magazine and corporate communications were first reported by the New York Post.
Condé Nast Traveler, GQ and Wired each lost at least one editorial staffer, sources said. It’s not clear what other positions throughout the company were eliminated.
Portnoy had been with Condé for more than six years, and as part of her portfolio, she also handled media relations for Fashion’s Night Out. A decision has not been made as to who — corporate communications or Vogue — will play that role in next year’s event.
Portnoy’s duties in the corporate office will now fall to a senior vice president, Patricia Steele. Though no final decisions have been made, the office itself, overseen by chief administrative officer Jill Bright, may be reimagined to focus more broadly on corporate branding.